Temples form an integral part of the religious life of a Hindu. A temple dedicated to a deity is not only a product of technical knowledge of the building but also metaphysical and theological concepts of artistic and literary culture, religious practices and attitude prevalent at a particular time. The intricate architectural design and the inscriptions within the temple express many facets of the religion, ideas about the deities, and the abode of them on earth in the form of temples. The inscriptions and their tantric background are indeed the best source for the correct understanding of a Hindu temple.
In view of the above relevance and to understand the various facets of temples the study on ‘Temples of Kerala’ has been undertaken. The present volume of Temples of ldduki District is the 10th publication in the series of ‘Study of Temples.’
The present report is the outcome of the concerted efforts of Sh. Jayashankar the retired Deputy Director of Census Operations, Kerala. The present work meticulousy completed by him reveals his basic understanding of the intricacy of the various facets of the Indian temples. It is expected that the voluminous details presented in the current report will definitely fulfil the purpose and the aim of which the study is undertaken.
The efforts made by the author will definitely go a long way to enrich the already existing literature on religious places in India and will be handy in this direction. I do hope that this work will be received by the readers as well as by the research scholars alike.
The monograph, Temples of Kerala, which was published in 1998 covered the general aspects on temples in Kerala like history of temples over the last two thousand years, mode of worship, architectural features, carvings and paintings, iconography of idols, deva-prasnam (astrological prediction relating to temples), rites, priesthood, offerings, temple customs and administration, ritualistic and performing arts etc. This monograph, the ninth in the series of District monographs, is an addendum to the monograph of Temples of Kerala and it attempts to cover an account of the temples of ltukki district.
The background of taking up this exhaustive study needs little elaboration. The Census Organization of India undertook a study on temples of Madras State as an ancillary study of the 1961 census. This study evoked keen interest among scholars, the Government and statutory bodies of Kerala. Late Sree R. Vasudeva Poduval a renowned Archaeologist, requested the Registrar General, India (late Sree A. Chandrasekhar) as early as 1969 to launch a study on temples of Kerala similar to the one that was conducted in Madras state and the latter readily agreed to this suggestion. But the study could not be taken up due to heavy pressure of work in connection with the 1971 census. In 1973, the Travancore Devaswam Board also came up with a similar request but the backlog of census work of 1971 census stood in the way in launching the study. In 1979 the Advisor to the Government of Kerala on Temples and Traditional Arts again requested the Director of Census Operations to commence the study. But again some unforeseen circumstances prevented the organization from taking up the study. However, in May 1990, the Government of Kerala again requested the Census Directorate to take up a detailed survey on temples of Kerala and the Registrar General (Sree A.R. Nanda I.A.S.) directed to commence the survey in June 1991.
The schedule, which was canvassed throughout the State, was finalized in consultation with Tantris and Silpis. Sree A.R. Nanda, I.A.S. (former Registrar General, India), Dr. K.P. Ittaman (former Deputy registrar General, India) and Sree K.C. Narayana Kurup (former Deputy Director of Census Operations, Madras) gave invaluable suggestions in designing and finalizing the schedule. The schedules were printed in September 1991 and the work commenced.
Originally it was decided to collect data of temples by mailing the schedules to temple authorities of statutory bodies and by deputing trained field staff to temples exclusively managed by private individuals and institutions. But this procedure did not work well as the response from the statutory bodies was found defective as the filled-in schedules had both content and coverage errors. Therefore, in March 1992, it was decided to engage a small team of trained staff of the Directorate of Census Operations, Kerala for the field-study. The survey covered all temples, which are open to public, irrespective of whether they are owned by statutory bodies, private institutions, families or individuals. Initially northern and central districts of Kerala were surveyed. The survey of Itukki district was done during 1997-99.
The procedure for the collection of data for the survey deserves special mention. The staff deputed for this study was directed to visit all panchayatts and village offices and to note down the names and location of all temples. Then the field-staff visited all such temples located in every nook and corner of the panchayatt, some of which situated even in dense forests and in areas inaccessible by roads. During their visits they also made local enquiries on any possible omissions. The data so collected through these visits and enquiries helped to prepare a Directory of all temples open to public and collect data regarding the name, location, principal a Deity, antiquity, structural type of main sreekovil, time of worship and poojas, utsavam/festival besides details on ownership/management. The data made available through the survey are presented in Section 3 of this monograph.
Further based on specified criteria i.e., all temples having swayambhoo (self-revealed) idols and other important temples (depending on number of prakaras, architectural excellence, number of poojas, antiquity and number of worshippers) were selected for detailed study. A separate detailed schedule was used for collecting the data on such temples and the information so collected is presented in Section 2 (Salient features of important temples) of this monograph. This does not mean that other temples are unimportant. But the procedure adopted was to give more important to temples based on the criteria mentioned above.
Section I gives an overall review on temples of the district and analysis (based on the data given in this monograph) with a backdrop on geographical setting, historical and other aspects of the district.
It is worthwhile to mention here the limitations of the data. The informants, mainly temple authorities, were generally co-operative. However, some of them were reluctant to provide details fearing that their private temples might be taken over by the Government and they took the stand that those temples were exclusively used by family members and not open to public. On the other hand some insisted on having their temples enumerated hoping to get some financial assistance for their family temples at later stage. Another difficulty encountered by the field staff was that very often they had to go to the same temple several times to collect details as the temples were kept open only for specified hours (either morning or noon or evening) or on specified days besides non-availability of reliable informants. Similarly it was difficult to verify the claim of informants on the data of antiquity and myths associated with those temples. In spite of these limitations every effort was made to collect detailed data as one could.
As the field-survey of Itukki district was done at different periods during 1997-99 subsequent changes on jurisdiction of territorial units, modifications made to structures, idols etc. have not been incorporated in this monograph except in few cases where re-visits were done by the author while writing the report. This volume has three sections viz. Section 1: General Background, Section 2: Salient features on important temples and Section 3: Temple Directory (which covers list of all temples in the district).
The field survey was initially monitored by Shri K. Sivaramakrishna Iyer (former Assistant Director of Census Operations). The field staff included Sarvashri R. Chandrachoodan, M. Chandrasekharan, M.R. Sukumaran Nair, Thampi N. Suresh, G. Sivadasan and R. Madhavan Nair of the Census Directorate. The wholehearted dedication of the field staff, in spite of several odds of travel through difficult terrain on foot withstanding the onslaughts of climate, is highly commendable. At the time writing this monograph I had to again utilize to some extent the services of Shri G. Sivadasan, former Statistical Investigator of the Census Directorate. I take this opportunity to record my great appreciation and thanks for his invaluable and dedicated contribution. I will be failing in my duty if I do no not express my sincere thanks to Shri N. Venu Nair, Senior Draftsman, of the Census directorate for meticulously preparing maps, included in this monograph, as per my requirements. The photographs on temples of this district were taken by Sree K.S. Premkumar (Proprietor, Digital Eyes Photo studio and Editing Lab. Atimali), assisted by Sree Rahul N. Rajan (Photographer). I am very happy to place on record my great appreciation for their strenuous work and extensive travel in hilly terrain for taking photographs of temples located on hills and velleys of the district with great pains.
The keying of data, layout of pages, and layout of photographic plates of this volume were conscientiously done by Sree G.S. Sudheer Kumar as a love for labour. I am deeply impressed by his stupendous work and place on record my great appreciation and profound thanks to him.
The writing of monographs was taken up after my retirement. The field-data and many published and unpublished reports had to be utilized in writing this monograph. My wife, Prof. Alappatt Anandam, gladly and conscientiously helped and gave me valuable suggestions. I have no words to thank her.
I am ever grateful to all authorities of temples and the informants who willingly furnished data to the field staff and to me.
It is my pleasant duty to acknowledge the co-operation extended to me by officers and staff of the Census Directorate. I got full encouragement at the initial stages of this project from late Sree N.M. Samuel, I.A.S., Director of Census Operations, Kerala and immeasurable help from Mrs. Sheela Thomas, I.A.S., who succeeded him as Director. Dr. V.M. Gopala Menon I.A.S., present Director of Census Operations, gave me all encouragement for the publication of this monograph. Sree N. Ravichandran, Joint Director and his colleagues gave full co-operation to me at all times. I place on record my sincere thanks to all of them.
Now it is my pleasant duty to thank the officers and staff of the office of the Registrar General, India for their great help in bringing out this monograph.
It is my great privilege to acknowledge my unfailing obligations I owe to Dr. M. Vijayanunni, I.A.S., Shri Jayant Kumar Banthia, I.A.S. and Shri Devender Kumar Sikri I.A.S. former Registrar Generals, India, who were very generous, extremely considerate and greatly helpful in solving many problems associated with the printing and release of earlier District monographs (Temples of Kasaragod district, Temples of Kannor district, Temples of Wayanad district, Temples of Kozhikkode district, Temples of Malappuram district, Temples of Palakkat district, Temples of Trssoor district and Temples of Ernakulam district).
Now it is my pleasant duty to gratefully acknowledge Dr. C. Chandramouli I.A.S., the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India for his invaluable guidance, encouragement and special interest shown to this monumental work and also for providing this monograph with a befitting foreword.
While writing this monograph I have experienced the Divine Grace of the Almighty and boundless blessings of Gurus and I have no words to express my deep feelings. I humbly pray for their continued benediction.
The views expressed in this monograph are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of India.
I am sure that this monograph will indeed be useful for posterity and I am happy to dedicate this monograph as a background document on the subject for the use of administrators, devotees and the general public.,p>
Brahma Sutras (81)
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